Railway safety and crime

09.01.19

RAIB calls for safety review of Sheffield junction after double tram collision

The RAIB has called for a safety review after two tram crashes took place at the same Sheffield junction in just six weeks.

Investigators have written to Sheffield City Council advising that a “risk-based review” of the junction and road traffic signals is carried out and that prompt action should be taken based on the findings.

On 25 October, a tram derailed after colliding with a lorry at the junction of Staniforth Road, with police investigating the collision.

No-one was seriously injured, but the crash came hours after Dan Jarvis and former transport minister Jo Johnson had launched the UK’s first ever ‘tram-train’.

One of the new trams – which will travel between Sheffield and Rotherham and utilise both existing tramlines and railway lines after several much-criticised delays to the scheme – was the tram involved in the incident.

Then, on 30 November, a Stagecoach Supertram collided with a car, once again at Staniforth Road in Sheffield.

The RAIB reported minor injuries caused to the car occupants and to a person on the tram as well as the major damage caused to the car in the collision.

Due to there being two similar collisions at the same locations, the RAIB sent an inspector to the scene of the November crash and following this has written to the chief executive of Sheffield City Council.

The city council said that, since November, it had improved visibility at the junction, improved extra warning signs, and started work on installing new LED signal lights.

It added that Supertram had also implemented a reduced speed limit for the tram whilst travelling through the junction.

Inspectors also noted that the positioning of a pole supporting the tramway’s overhead power supply wires had the potential to worsen the outcome of the accident.

The RAIB said it has therefore also written to UK Tram, the trade body responsible representing the UK light rail industry for providing guidance to constructors and operators.

It suggested that UK Tram consider the guidance in place for the placement of such supply poles in close proximity of roads which cross tramways.

 

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